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Annie Whitehead — Naked
(Voiceprint LCVP129CD, 1996/2000, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2001-12-01

Naked Cover art

Annie Whitehead's first solo album makes the rounds again on Voiceprint subsidiary label, La Cooka Ratcha, which goes far to establish her British jazz rock roots, passion, and loyalty. Joined by noted bassist / partner Ian Maidman, Jasper van't Hof (former leader of Pork Pie), and Liam Genocky (known for various sessions and a great solo album as well). The original release of Naked in 1995 hit the British UK market but did not find the target jazz audience which she deserved to have for wider recognition. The album's opening piece, a tribute to the late Dudu Pukwana (sax player and influential African immigrant to the UK), is a calypso rave-up similar to Robert Wyatt's "Sonia" from 1975's Ruth Is Stranger than Richard. Maidman's lead guitar fits the groove adeptly over Genocky's cut-up drumming. Whitehead's love for the improvisationalist John Stevens is documented in the second track, "Platform One," which is introduced by an effects-modified trombone line. "Hubble" is a funky take on the in-space American telescope and presents a workout for Maidman, on bass this time. Her subsequent recording, Home, was made with the same lineup. Whitehead continues to make inroads into the British jazz scene with her continued work in the Zappatistas, a band led by ex-Soft Machine guitarist, John Etheridge and keyboardist / arranger Steve Lodder (also a member of Whitehead's other group, Rude). Overall the eight pieces size up an enjoyable quantity of updated world-based jazz which shines like a beacon from across the Atlantic. Highly recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 23, 2000 releases, 1996 recordings

Related artist(s): Annie Whitehead

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